Most young offenders come from Lisbon

SIX IN every 10 adolescents sent by courts to young offenders’ institutes come from Greater Lisbon, the Ministry of Justice has announced.

The findings were released on the same day as the Minister of Justice, Alberto Costa, visited one of the establishments for female offenders, S. Bernardino in Peniche. Figures reveal that a total of 298 youngsters are currently interned in 12 institutions and 178 come from Lisbon. The centres hold young offenders who committed crimes between the ages of 12 and 16. They are detained only after careful recommendation from the Instituto de Reinserção Social (IRS), the institute of social reinsertion, and can remain in such institutions until the age of 21. Recent data shows that most youths are aged between 15 and 16, and the majority (204) are housed in ‘semi-open’ establishments, which means they can take part in activities in the community during the day. Staff from the centres accompany and supervise offenders during these trips. Holiday authorisation depends on the personal conduct of the youths concerned.

The centres offer educational and rehabilitative programmes designed to inform young offenders about their responsibilities to society. Of the 12 centres in Portugal, only two hold female inmates, those of S. Bernardino and S. José (Viseu), accounting for just five per cent of the total.